Pretending Not

Yes.  There is no doubt that some people freak when they meet someone trans.  And I know that most of us have the dream of not being freaky, of being normative.

But in the long run, I believe that people freak more at someone pretending not to be trans.

We each have a passing distance, whatever that is.  Get closer than that and our history and biology become clear.

To assert that we have always been what we are today can seem delusional and disconnected to others around us.  They may not directly call us out, but they see.    To make those assertions we have to act in confidence, and that often means deliberately not seeing through the eyes of others to know how we are being viewed.  It also often means finding someone or some group to scapegoat for our failures in passing as what we assert ourselves to be.

Jessica Pettit teaches the lesson of hypothetical transpeople who need to be allowed to assert their own claims of  invisibility.  Yet those transpeople can never stand for themselves and stand for others who have a trans body and a trans history.

People know what they know.  And I believe what they want to know about transpeople is that we are connected and interacting with the world they live in, not isolated from that world and the people in it.

Yeah, sometimes we do pass as having been born normative for our gender presentation.   I know that I can pretty easily pass on cursory inspection, but that on closer inspection my bones and voice tell another story.  And I also know that if I try to keep passing, I deny that voice and stay in a place where I have to cut off more than just my genitals.

We all get smart.  TBB won’t talk on a cell in the women’s room, for example.  Doesn’t want her disembodied voice coming from a stall.

But, I believe, pretending not to be trans is more isolating and more scary to others than being a part of the world, even if that means we are trans in the world.

Yes, even if we have always dreamed of not being trans.

4 thoughts on “Pretending Not”

  1. Isolation and fear are my bread and butter, my insecurity blanket. If I didn’t have them, I’d wonder where they went.

    Sad, I suppose, but I believe it’s my personal truth…

  2. The thing about “beliefs” and “personal truths” that is better than, say, bones, is that with some work, they can be changed into something better and more effective.

    May you find other talismans than “isolation” and “fear.”

    ACIM might suggest “connection” and “love.”

  3. I keep thinking to myself that I have to hold off as much as I can on “connection” and “love” in order to wait for when my body is fixed, because people really are so mired in the physical.

    If I know them and I want to get my shoulders done, or my feet done, or my hands, they’ll shake their head and cluck about how Gracie Won’t Accept Her Body. Whereas if I have the work done already, they’ll simply marvel — or at least not notice — what were flaws.

    Why would I live in the world as I am, when my bones are still so terrible and male?

  4. Grace, I know many transwomen who have great physical challenges in appearing as being born female who have pushed past those challenges and are living good lives as women.

    I know your bones aren’t the way you would like them to be, but no woman thinks her body is perfect.

    In the end though, to claim our own possibilities we have to get over being sunk by terror.

    You have great possibilities, but they will flower in their own time.

    Personally, I do very much hope that flowering is in this lifetime, but you do get to make that choice.

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